The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first seasonal flu vaccine made using animal cell technology. This previous egg method has been used for a half-century.
The FDA has approved Novartis’ Flucelvax to prevent influenza in people ages 18 years and older.
The new method has been promoted by U.S. health officials because it is faster than the egg-based production, which could speed up manufacturing in the event of a pandemic.
In the older method, virus samples are injected into specialized chicken eggs and incubated. The egg fluids are later harvested, concentrated and purified into the vaccine.
With cell technology, small amounts of the virus are put in fermenting tanks with nutrients and cells derived from mammals. The virus is then inactivated, purified and put into vaccine vials.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 40 percent of Latinos received their flu shot last season. Dr. Perez-Fernandez from the American Lung Association previously told Fox News Latino this rate is alarmingly low because Latinos are considered at high risk of developing flu-related complications due to suffering from specific chronic conditions, like asthma and diabetes.
In addition, the CDC reports that up to 9.5 million Hispanic-Americans will get the flu in an average year and there are 9 million with diabetes, making them prone to infection. It also advised those with severe allergies to chicken eggs should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician.
Flu vaccines are offered in several locations, including clinics, health departments and pharmacies.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.